Royal Canadian Legion on Front St. photo by Stephanie Chaves.

Legislation would exempt Sarnia Legion from property taxes

Sarnia’s Branch 62 president is welcoming new legislation that would exempt all Royal Canadian Legion halls in Ontario from paying property tax.

Jim Burgess said he’s on board with the plan proposed by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government.

He said eliminating the taxes would go a long way in ensuring the future of branches across Ontario.

“Many of the Legions in the country have closed in the last few years mostly because of the expense of the buildings, which property tax is a huge part of.”

Burgess said most of the roughly $4,000 the branch would save every year would go back into their general fund.

He also said it would allow them to give back more to the community, like they did during their most recent Catch the Ace draw.

“Last week we donated $5,000 to Pathways, so we had Pathways come and we presented them the cheque in front of the people so that they understand that the money they’re spending and putting into the raffle is going to a good place. It doesn’t just go into our coffers for us to enjoy, it’s all given away to charity.”

Many Legion halls in the province already don’t have to pay property taxes to municipal governments.

But the legislation would ensure all property occupied by the more than 400 branches of the Ontario Command of The Royal Canadian Legion would be exempt from such taxes starting next year.